- Food Safety
- Business License
- Optional Licenses
- Legal Documents You May Need
Once you have locked down your perfect restaurant concept, chosen your restaurant’s name, figured out financing startup costs, the most painstaking part of the process begins: licensing and securing legal documents. There are plenty of reasons why restaurants fail and one of them is the failure to comply with permits and licenses before it begins operating. When embroiled with excitement, it’s easier if you’ll start with a restaurant business checklist. Not being able to comply with these legal documents is considered a criminal offense. You have to thoroughly investigate the prerequisites to avoid legal complications.
After issuing of permits and reviewing construction plans for your restaurants, The Department of Health through The Food Safety and Hygiene Inspection Services Division (FSHISD) conducts inspection and monitors all retail food operations. This is to make sure that your restaurant business complies with health and safety regulations. As restaurant owner, you may be required to draft a food safety checklist. FSHISD also offers informational sessions to industry groups. Our handy food safety plan template can help you develop food safety policy guidelines you will need before the inspection.
Food Safety License
This involves in-person visits of the health department to make sure that you are in accordance with restaurant food safety regulations. In most cases employees must also complete food safety training program to obtain a food safety license.
Food Handler’s Permit
The first step is to implement HACCP, or Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Points. This permit ensures you meet regulations for food sanitation, storage, protection and sanitation. Employees must also obtain a food handler’s permit to ensure they have successfully completed a food safety certification.
For services that have a direct impact on public health, like your restaurant, it has to comply and meet the hygiene and security standards of the state where your restaurant business is situated,
Public health is an utmost concern that the government ensures this through this permit. This ensures that your restaurant business comply with hygiene and safety norms.
Building Health Permit
The city or state requires this especially if you are building a building from the ground up. This involves periodic inspections to ensure that your location is sanitary.
Health and Safety Permit
Prior to issuance of a Health Permit, an inspection will be completed to determine that the proposed facility and the method of operation meets the requirements of the Health and Safety Code and applicable ordinances. Health permits are non transferable.
Employee Health Permit
Not only does the building need a health permit; the employees handling food and beverages need one too. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has specific training employees handling food and beverages. Your staff needs to complete a state-approved food handler course and purchase a food handler’s permit that expires after three to five years.
Even before you have a full crafted restaurant business plan you’ll want to obtain a business license. That will give you the authority to operate within a particular geographic jurisdiction. Depending on where you live, the process to obtaining this plan differs.
Employee Identification Number
The EIN is what tells the Federal government that you are an employer. Essentially, this is a Tax ID, which is where you will be filing your taxes under every year. Fun fact: The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issues only one EIN per day.
Permits are granted following a successful inspection. Permits regulate safety and may or may not require a fee. It’s better to check state law to determine the exact permit requirements.
Obtaining a resale permit is a smart thing to do for this will allow you to buy non-taxable items then sell them with a tax eventually. A resale item basically states that the sales tax is also included only on the final item, so you, as a restaurant owner, don’t have to pay a tax on each item bought in creating a dish.
Billboards, banners, blimps, and all other signs also require a sign permit. Get ready to submit applications of different type of signs. Depending on the state’s system, you may be the one to handle the process online.
The license that you will obtain to cook and serve food will commonly come from your county or local government. Requirements vary, so, you have to find out the requirements either from the local government or from your legal counsel. Health inspections will be administered by professionals who are aware of local, state, and federal health codes.
Different type of licenses exist for different types of services your restaurant will provide. The goal is the same, and that is to protect and ensure safety and security. Here are some of optional licenses you may be required to comply.
State authorities would require you to obtain alcoholic beverage or liquor license if you intend to serve alcohol in your restaurant. The type of license you will apply will vary depending on the type of liquor you will serve, hence, liquor licenses have various levels or series.
Whether it is live music, or CD or through a streaming device, to avoid copyright infringes, you need to secure a music license. Fines for playing copyrighted music without a license could reach up to $30,000, that is if, Beyonce decides to not sue you.
If you plan to host a concert, dance, exhibition, cabaret, or public shows conducted within your restaurant premises, this type of license is needed too.
Your obligation as a restaurant owner does not only focus on health and safety of your customers. You are also legally and morally bound to do your share in protecting Mother Earth. Getting the clearance certificate involves screening, scoping and evaluation of your restaurant to examine its impact on the environment.
Environmental Clearance Certificate
The state’s pollution board will make sure that your restaurant’s activities are not violating any pollution norms.
Fire Security Certificate
Your restaurant should have proper fire security arrangements. The fire department will conduct an inspection after you have complied with the requirements
Certificate of Occupancy
The certificate of occupancy certifies that the building has been properly constructed and maintained, hence, fit for human occupancy. If your restaurant is in a multi-story building, safe operation of lifts should be ensured.
Legal Documents You May Need
In most cases, you don’t need to create any of these legal documents from scratch. We have free templates available to serve as your starting point. To an aspiring restaurateur, the challenges in building a successful restaurant and the efforts you exert on how to overcome them can seem overwhelming. Aside from legal and regulatory hoops that need to be negotiated, you are likely to resolve staffing issues, fight against your competitors and overcome financial obstacles. Before, the first finance source most businessmen think of is, the bank. Now, there are many start up financing options to raise funding you can take advantage of. Crowdfunding for example is one way to raise equity. From there on, begin a strong following by taking advantage of some social media platforms.
Success often comes with back breaking hard work, dedication. It takes years to building a reputation. You will always be in the spotlight. You will find these essential Tips to run a successful restaurant helpful.